Kentucky Makes NBA Draft History ~ Awesomeness

Coach Cal put five Cats into the NBA Draft this Thursday.  Never been done before (in a single draft).

I’m happy about it.  Not nearly as excited as I’d have been if those 5 players had led UK to the National Championship.  Still it’s a great accomplishment.

http://www.wildcatnation.net/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2124&d=1277511002

Kentucky Coach John Calipari sounded like a proud papa on Friday when discussing his five former players who were picked in the first round of the NBA Draft the previous night.

And while the exodus means that UK must adjust to a lot of new players next season, Calipari is hoping that the Cats continue to be a big player on NBA Draft night.

“I hope we do it again,” Calipari said. “My dream now would to be to have the No. 1 overall pick and six first-round draft picks. I want my sixth man to get drafted in the first round.”

John Wall was the No. 1 draft pick. DeMarcus Cousins checked in at No. 5, Patrick Patterson at No. 14, Eric Bledsoe No. 18 and Daniel Orton at 29th.

John Calipari on Playing at Kentucky

Calipari said he’s trying to do much more with this team. “It’s about more than just winning,” Calipari said. “It’s about are you getting your team better. are they coming together? That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Calipari also said that he’s seeing a huge difference in his competition. The Wildcats are a big target every night. “We’re everybody’s Super Bowl,” Calipari said. “It’s almost stupid watching tape. They’re not going to play the way they’re playing on that tape.”

Daniel Orton getting high praise:

Also very good at basketball: Daniel Orton

by John Gasaway

I tried six ways to Sunday to make the following fit in the John Wall feature I just posted, but it was like putting a taco on a birthday cake so I had to leave it out. Nevertheless I want this to be on the record:

The sequence in Saturday’s North CarolinaKentucky game where Daniel Orton rejected John Henson at the rim, sprinted down the floor, received a fast-break pass from Eric Bledsoe, and dished an exquisite bounce-pass to Patrick Patterson for the dunk may have been the most impressive possession I have seen from a player this decade. Defense, athleticism, hustle, selflessness, and point-guard-level skill, all on one play. Seven-second wonder Daniel Orton, I salute you!

How Good is John Wall?

2009-2010 University of Kentucky Basketball Team

mbb0910_team_photo

Here they are folks.  This years Kentucky Wildcat Basketball Team.

Left to Right 2nd Row (Standing):

Jon Hood, Ramon Harris, Patrick Patterson, Daniel Orton, Demarcus “Big Cuz” Cousins, Josh “Jorts” Harrelson, Perry “Slim” Stevenson and Darnell “Ramel Bradley’s Twin” Dodson

Left to Right First Row (Seated):

Rod Strickland, Orlando Antiqua, Darius Miller, John Wall, Mark Krebs, Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Liggins, John Calipari and Jon Robic

*Coaches in Black, Players in Blue

LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari says he has felt like a political candidate during his first six months as Kentucky’s basketball coach, generating new hype with each campaign stop across the state even while trying to temper some lofty expectations.

“I’ve done enough,” Calipari said Thursday at the first official media day since leaving Memphis. “I’m waiting for election day. I was kissing babies, and I didn’t care if I won or lost the election. I just wanted it to happen.”

Calipari is well aware that the passionate UK fans care strongly about whether he wins or loses. They want wins — preferably in bunches.

The program’s recent buzz has been sparked not just by its energetic new leader but by his debut recruiting haul, a freshman class arguably the most touted since Michigan’s Fab Five.

Yet unlike that 1991-92 Wolverines team that reached the national title game with five freshman starters, Kentucky has plenty of experience to go along with the new blood. Patrick Patterson was an all-Southeastern Conference center last year during Kentucky’s National Invitation Tournament season. Kentucky’s roster is so deep, Calipari envisions Patterson playing some wing this year.

This is going to be a hell of a year.  Big Pat is back on the scene with a mission.  He’s got help from incoming Frosh John Wall, Big Cuz, Orton and Eric Bledsoe as well as Darius Miller and the remainder of the returning team.

Big things are expected and these guys can take care of business and meet those expectations.  I can see making Final Four this season.  Of course, everything will have to go right for the team.  Keep the injuries down.  Cohesion and Esprit de Corps will be important factors.  With the Cal DDS system, there should be plenty of PT for all of the stars that make up this team.  Cal has been to two Final Fours and I can see this being his 3rd with the possibility of going al the way to the Title Game and bringing home banner #8.

A year that doesn’t end in a National Championship will not be catastrophic.  Less than a Final Four would surprise me.  I see this team slicing through the SEC like a hot knife through butter.  I’m sure there will be challenges, but, I see enough talent to overcome a few bouts with youth and inexperience.

Everything I read about John Wall says that the kid will be an instant player for Kentucky and Coach Cal.  Big Cuz is supposed to be a monster.  Daniel Orton should be a beast down low.  Eric Bledsoe may be better than advertised which would be impressive as he’s supposed to be a future lottery pick.  Darius Miller can take care of spot duty at the point and become an assassin on the wings.  These things take place and it’s gonna be a huge year.

HUGE!

Bottom line is that Patrick Patterson didn’t come back for the hell of it.  The man came back to get his.  I’m hoping he gets it.  Patrick Patterson leads this team to a Championship this year and he will go down in history as one of  THE greats of Kentucky Basketball.  He could well supplant Dan Issel as THE GREATEST.

GO BIG BLUE!!!

* Kentucky Men’s Basketball Yearbook

 

Alphabetical

No. Name Pos. Ht./Wt. Cl./Exp. Hometown (Last School)
24 Eric Bledsoe G 6-1/190 FR/HS Birmingham, Ala. (Parker)
15 DeMarcus Cousins F 6-11/260 FR/HS Mobile, Ala. (LeFlore)
3 Darnell Dodson G 6-7/215 SO/TR Greenbelt, Md. (Miami-Dade CC)
55 Josh Harrellson F 6-10/265 JR/1L St. Charles, Mo. (SW Illinois College)
5 Ramon Harris G/F 6-7/218 SR/3L Anchorage, Alaska (West Anchorage)
4 Jon Hood G 6-6/195 FR/HS Madisonville, Ky. (North Hopkins)
12 Mark Krebs G 6-5/208 SR/2L Newport, Ky. (Newport Central Catholic)
34 DeAndre Liggins G 6-6/202 SO/1L Chicago, Ill. (Findley Prep)
1 Darius Miller G 6-7/223 SO/1L Maysville, Ky. (Mason County)
33 Daniel Orton F 6-10/255 FR/HS Oklahoma City, Okla. (Bishop McGuiness)
54 Patrick Patterson F 6-9/235 JR/2L Huntington, W.Va. (Huntington)
21 Perry Stevenson F 6-9/207 SR/3L Lafayette, La. (Northside)
11 John Wall G 6-4/195 FR/HS Raleigh, N.C. (Word of God)